During one of my presentations, I included a “feedback card” that I asked the audience to fill out. I do this often, both for mine and the audiences amusement as well as to encourage that I get the feedback cards back. (People will often fill out the rest of the card as well and turn it in if they have something interesting to say about an off topic question, such as marriage advice for a newlywed.) The question in this case was “Why did you go into teaching?”
65% of people responded with something about “changing lives” “making a difference” or “helping kids”.
Not one person mentioned standardized tests. Nobody mentioned homework. Nobody mentioned “to punish kids.
I’m wondering, if we reflect upon this simple question and think about so many of the behaviors that have become common in our role as a teacher – how many of these behaviors are counter-productive to the mantras of “changing lives” “making a difference” and “helping kids”.
How do we go about doing this? I’m not sure – but I’d bet playing the blame game, distorting our gradebooks and focusing on a bunch of crap that has nothing to do with learning isn’t the answer. I’ve got my own ideas on how to go about changing lives – many of them I share on this website. Hopefully, you have your own ideas and I encourage you to share them as well.
Some of the responses below, again in no particular order, reflect the rhetoric too many teachers would use at a job interview as opposed to their true feelings on the subject. Some of the responses are inspiring…some alarming. Perhaps most telling of all….more people were willing to offer marriage advice on their feedback cards than were willing to answer the question “Why did you go into teaching?”
Enjoy the responses, hopefully you learn as much from them as I have. What do you say tomorrow we go back to trying to impact lives and help kids? They deserve it.
“Why did you go into teaching?”
Last year, when I was first beginning to present “The Hard Truth About PLCs” my wife and I had been married for a little over a month. Like many newlyweds we were doing fantastic and having a great time as we acclimated to living together…but we were working out some kinks as many newlyweds do – mostly stemming from my utter hatred for doing dishes!